One of the Most Important Articles on Abortion You’ll Ever Read

Here are stories from abortion doctors who have been doing abortions since before they were legal. They’ve seen what society is like with and without access to safe, legal abortion. They’ve seen how bad things were, how good they got, and how we’re backsliding toward a time when desperate women were willing to risk death to terminate their pregnancies. These are stories all of us need to listen to. Especially those who are uncomfortable with or opposed to abortion. Make sure you send this to every friend, acquaintance, and relation who is anti-abortion or who thinks that abortion is a necessary evil rather than a medical right. Send it to everyone who thinks abortion should be legal, but tightly restricted. Force them to confront this reality.

Make them deal with statistics like this:

“The evidence is clear and incontrovertible that abortion is a safe and an important part of women’s health and yet we still see this broad campaign of deception. You’re actually twice as likely to die from an injection of penicillin than an abortion, but no one is suggesting penicillin injections happen in a surgical ward.”

Make them confront realities like this:

“As a medical student in the early ’60s, I was regularly taking care of women who were suffering and dying from the complications of illegal abortions. There was a woman who had been turned down for an abortion at a nearby hospital. She went home and shot herself in the uterus and then drove herself back to the hospital.”

If they’re people of faith, draw their attention to the fact that people of deep pro-life religious conviction absolutely can choose life by choosing abortion:

“I once had a conversation with the man who was the head of ob-gyn at Lenox Hill; he was a devout and very conservative Catholic. But he’d seen women die of botched abortions resulting in gas gangrene of the uterus. He told me, ‘Anybody who has ever seen a 13-year-old die like that has to support abortion.’”

And if they think abortion will stop because they tell pregnant people about the horrors of botched abortions, and make up terrifying stories about what abortion entails, they’re so very, very wrong:

“No matter how much you shame and scare them, women will still come for abortions. Pretty recently I had this young woman, 15 maybe, and we did the procedure. I said, ‘Your uterus is empty, the procedure is over. I have to go check to make sure we got everything,’ and I left the room to examine the tissue. Then I came back and told her, ‘Everything’s fine, your uterus is healthy.’ And she said, ‘So … when are you going to use the steel ball?’ I picked my jaw up off the floor and said, ‘Steel ball?’ She said, ‘Well, I went to the crisis pregnancy center and they told me you’re going to put a steel ball that’s covered with sharp blades into my uterus and twirl it around.’ And this kid still came! I was thinking, How did you ever make yourself walk in the office believing I was going to do that?

(If there is a hell, there is a very special, very hot place in it for those who run crisis pregnancy centers. The people who run them should consult their Bible for the commandment against lying. Thankfully, California is forcing them to tell the truth. I hope that we eventually end up with federal legislation ensuring every center in the country is required to do the same.)

So you see, anti-abortion people: there is no lie you can tell, no “abortion is murder!” slogan you can chant, no fairytale story you can weave about the joys of motherhood and/or adoption, that will stop people with unwanted pregnancies from seeking abortion. It’s not a question of whether abortions will happen. It’s a question of whether we care enough for people to help them terminate unwanted or dangerous pregnancies safely. And if you place the life of a cluster of cells that might* become a person over the health and well-being of the fully-realized pregnant person in front of you, you’re not pro-life. You’re pro-suffering. And that’s a truth I hope will wake you up weeping tonight.

Image shows a drawing of an androgynous torso wearing a tank top. The figure's arms are crossed over its chest. Caption across the image says "Abortion is not a privilege, it's a right."

*Don’t let yourself think that pregnancy inevitably leads to a healthy bouncing baby as long as we don’t terminate it. Miscarriage, critical failures of the placenta and other medical conditions, horrific defects that cause the fetus to not develop a vital organ or even their brain, and catastrophic birth trauma happen all too frequently. Pregnancy and childbirth are something of a crap shoot. So don’t tell me that clump of cells will definitely become a person. It’s not a person now, and may never be, and so that guilt trip doesn’t work.

 

{advertisement}
One of the Most Important Articles on Abortion You’ll Ever Read
{advertisement}
The Orbit is still fighting a SLAPP suit! Help defend freedom of speech, click here to find out more and donate!

19 thoughts on “One of the Most Important Articles on Abortion You’ll Ever Read

  1. 1

    “Make sure you send this to every friend, acquaintance, and relation who is anti-abortion or who thinks that abortion is a necessary evil rather than a medical right. Send it to everyone who thinks abortion should be legal, but tightly restricted. Force them to confront this reality.”

    The problem being that they’ll react to it the same way as they will react to studies showing that sex-ed and availability of contraception lowers teenage pregnancies (and abortions to boot): abortion (like pre-marital sex) is wrong, and hence it shouldn’t be allowed, period. Yes, it has gruesome consequences, but the women seeking illegal abortions are wrong too, and whatever happens to them is the wrath of the LORD.

  2. 2

    Send it to them anyway: they know that you think you’re right, and that you have good facts on your side which they choose to ignore. For their part, they know that they only have their faith, though this is strong for them. But eventually they will have so much stuff relying solely on their teetering tower of blind trust ™ that one tiny crack may bring the whole thing crashing down.

  3. 3

    @#1 Kilian:
    And you know what? FUCK those people. Let them live in their twisted fantasy world, but they do NOT have a right to impose their beliefs onto everyone else. ESPECIALLY when it has absolutely NO effect on their lives. I had a Sunday School teacher (yes, I used to attend because my mother made me) present a lesson about rights. His take on it was “Your rights end where my nose begins.” I often wonder how he would react to the fundies nowadays trying to force their particular version of religion and god onto everyone, ignoring the fact that everyone has a right to reject their religion, their god, and their beliefs. As Dana has written about before, they obviously do not understand the concept of consent.

  4. 4

    *Don’t let yourself think that pregnancy inevitably leads to a healthy bouncing baby as long as we don’t terminate it. Miscarriage, critical failures of the placenta and other medical conditions, horrific defects that cause the fetus to not develop a vital organ or even their brain, and catastrophic birth trauma happen all too frequently. Pregnancy and childbirth are something of a crap shoot. So don’t tell me that clump of cells will definitely become a person. It’s not a person now, and may never be, and so that guilt trip doesn’t work.

    There’s a phenomenon among new mothers: You have this baby, and you do mummy and baby stuff and you socialise with other mummies and after a while people break out the pregnancy and birth stories*. There are the stories of “having to lie on your back for 20 weeks”. There are the stories of “needing an emergency C-section because of HELLP”. Of “mundane” problems like pregnancy diabetes, excessive vomiting, pain. Of the placenta that developed over the cervix and the kid that came three weeks before the scheduled C-section so the woman almost bled out on the way to the hospital. Of being knocked out in a split second decision because everything went wrong at once and waking up not knowing what happened. And you realise that many of your merry circle would have died 100 years ago. It’s not “safe” because it is “natural”, it is pretty safe thanks to modern medicine. That birth is quite often fucking traumatic. And afterwards there is no room for those stories, for those feelings. They get broken out when you’re among your own, when you have that one safe place where society allows new mothers to talk about all the bad things. Because if you did so in general talk about pregnancy and childbirth or heavens forbid in general talk about babies, you’d be thought to resent your child. You got a healthy baby and the rest is irrelevant. Nobody gives a fuck about the physical or emotional state the person who carried the pregnancy to term was left in.

    *I know they are of complete annoyance to adoptive parents. If you are an adoptive parent, please read on and I hope you’ll understand.

  5. 6

    If you read any history at all, you should notice how often it is said, “His mother died in childbirth,” or, “His first wife died in childbirth,” etc. We rarely hear that any more. Why? Abortion and contraception is why.

    And we see no more stories (like those I heard when I was a teenager growing up in the 1950s) of girls dying; girls you knew, girls you went to school with; dying from abortion attempts. Why? Legal abortion and contraception, again.

    How soon we forget!

  6. 7

    That steel ball story is Cattle Decapitation level metal. How do you look a teenager going through one of the scariest experiences in their life in the eye and say that shit, knowing it’s a lie?

  7. 8

    Susannah:

    If you read any history at all, you should notice how often it is said, “His mother died in childbirth,” or, “His first wife died in childbirth,” etc. We rarely hear that any more. Why? Abortion and contraception is why.

    Uh, no. There are several medical reasons that there has been a decline in childbirth-related maternal deaths that are much more important than yhe availability of contraception and abortion, such as: transfusions, antibiotics, better prenatal care, aseptic birth rooms, and understanding of perinatal physiology — in general, better understanding of medicine around pregnancy and childbirth. The best advantage of contraception [abortion is a method of contraception] may be to improve maternal health by spacing pregnancies and decreasing behaviors that are detrimental to pregnancy in women who do not wish to be pregnant.

  8. 9

    naturalcynic @ # 6: … abortion is a method of contraception…

    Not if you want to get precise about it. Abortion is a method of birth control: if one aborts, one does not birth.

    However, only the pregnant get abortions, and pregnancy means that conception (fertilization & implantation) has already occurred, and thus that contraception, if any, has failed.

    And I think – pls correct me if wrong – you may not have intended that last “not” in your closing line.

  9. 11

    Yes – abortion and contraception – and also modern medical science.
    (As naturalcynic #6 below has already noted too.)

    But otherwise spot on and seconded by me. How soon indeed. Just a few generations ago .. and now so much taken for granted.

    Well taken for granted in the case of medical science and maybe about half for contraception. Actively, horribly, trying to be taken away by hateful extremists for the other 1/2 of contraception and abortion.

  10. rq
    12

    This was a large component I found missing from all those pre-natal classes. “Oh, complications are possible.” That’s about the extent. The worst complications that are usually discussed are swollen ankles and perhaps low blood sugar. And I don’t know if it’s doctors trying to minimize the stress and fear on pregnant people, or if it’s a conscious decision not to ruin that beautiful and ecstatic moment of birthing a baby… I think a lot of the negative complications and consequences of childbirth come as a surprise to those experiencing them (and, in cases of death, their partners and families, too), and that is just a shitty way to treat people. “It’ll be great! Surprise: DEATH!”
    And what with all that ‘women want babies!’ stuff, it’s exactly these kinds of nasty surprises that can change someone’s opinion of wanting more babies (I know of at least two mothers who did it once, had a shitty experience (neither was particularly more life-threatening than usual childbirth, but definitely unpleasant), and now will not be having any more children; here’s to demographics).

    Nobody gives a fuck about the physical or emotional state the person who carried the pregnancy to term was left in.

    Yep.

  11. rq
    13

    I think they also need to get on some contraceptive methods for people with penises, too. More than condoms. I’ve heard of a couple of endeavours over the past couple of years (fine, just this one), which have been labelled as promising, but for some mysterious reason, they are heard of no more… or relegated to some future date.

    At any rate, I wish the anti-abortion crowd would come to their senses and realize that, by banning abortion, they’re condemning a lot more lives than they believe they’re saving. But that’s right, they don’t really give a shit about actual lives.

  12. 14

    Yep. People still get voluntarily pregnant and then pregnancy is still something that can kill you. Unplanned and unwanted pregnancies can still be a “walk in the park” medically speaking while wanted pregnancies can kill you. Biology does not differentiate between those things.
    Not only are there many people walking around now who’d have died in pregnancy, childbrith or from abortion, there are also many who would not have been born alive and that has nothing to do with contraception or abortion.

  13. 15

    “but for some mysterious reason, they are heard of no more” – the mystery being they don’t work. Women’s reproductional system is hormone triggered, while men’s isn’t, and women’s reproductional system relies on delivery, while men’s relies on production. For male contraception, you need to actively block the production of sperm, which has proven to be very difficult.

  14. 17

    As far as I know, fucking with a cis man’s testosterone to block sperm production isn’t reversible and eventually renders him sterile. So a male hormonal birth control would ideally not do that.

  15. 18

    I was in med tech school just before and immediately after Roe v. Wade. I saw deaths from abortion, they were just covered up. They lied on death certificates to avoid the word “abortion” and shaming the family. These were good girls, white girls of upper class families, good Christian families,

    “Kidney failure” when the real cause was that the desperate girl heard that douching with a then-common household chemical would terminate the pregnancy. It did, but it also wrecked her kidneys and she died a slow death from irreversible system failure.

    “Septicemia” when the real cause was a botched self-inflicted abortion.

Comments are closed.